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Burlington’s Best Recognized at Annual Awards Celebration

Nominees for the Burlington’s Best Awards held at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre on May 8, 2019.

Please see the below media release from the City of Burlington.

Burlington, Ont. — May 8, 2019 — The City of Burlington honoured 28 nominees and seven award winners at the annual Burlington’s Best Awards ceremony on May 8, 2019.

This year’s Burlington’s Best categories included:

  • Heritage Award
  • Community Service Award
  • Environmental Award
  • Arts Person of the Year
  • Junior Citizen of the Year
  • Senior Person of the Year
  • Citizen of the Year

“The quality of nominees never ceases to amaze me. The Committee put in some long hours to select the winners as each nominees’ submission had very compelling arguments to be the winner. In the end, they’re all winners and we’re so thankful for all the work they’ve done to help make Burlington the best place to live, work and play.” — Calah Brooks, Chair of Burlington’s Best Commitee

2018 Burlington’s Best Award winners

Heritage Award

This award is sponsored by Heritage Burlington, a City of Burlington citizen advisory committee made up of 14 volunteers who provide advice to City Council on issues related to the conservation of Burlington’s cultural heritage.

The award goes to an individual or group who has demonstrated a commitment to the preservation of Burlington’s heritage, and has volunteered their time in an effort to support the preservation of Burlington’s heritage in 2018.

Winner: Joan Downey

Joan is a passionate volunteer who supports the community with her efforts. She has been a member of the Burlington Historical Society for over five years and is a strong and reliable volunteer. Joan has transformed the archives into a well-structured, meaningful archival system. With teamwork as one of her strengths, she coordinates and supports the archival volunteers. Joan performs an essential and much needed function for the Burlington Historical Society as a key member of the outreach team and has been involved with various projects such as oral histories presentations. Joan has a willingness to serve, has excellent relationships with others and a pleasant demeanor that is truly appreciated.

Community Service Award

This award is sponsored by Cogeco, a diversified communications company that strives to meet the communication needs of consumers and advertisers through cable distribution and radio broadcasting.

The Community Service Award is given to an individual or group whose volunteer activity has contributed to the betterment of the Burlington community in 2018.

Winner: Greg and Andrea Howard

Greg and Andrea Howard are passionate and dedicated in supporting their community. They responded to a tragic loss by creating a way to make the community more informed about mental health. Greg and Andrea organize an annual hockey tournament called Ty’s Tourney in memory of their youngest son Tyler who died by suicide. The tournament planning includes player registration, sponsorship, prize donations, volunteer management and promotion. They have raised funds for over six-years that has been donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Halton Region Branch. Through their contributions, free walk-in counselling has been made available throughout the Halton community. The Howards saw a need and put forward an incredible amount of work to help address this and make the community aware of mental health. Greg and Andrea’s generosity and selflessness have supported many.

Environmental Award

This award is sponsored by Walker Environmental Group, a leading waste management company that develops solutions for environmental challenges—solutions that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable—including aerobic composting, alternative energy production and environmental project management. The company’s diverse range of services provides sustainable solutions that reduce waste, improve energy efficiency and enhance the environment.

The Environmental Award is given to an individual or group that improved and/or protects Burlington’s environment in 2018.

Winner: Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club

The Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club’s local volunteers are a dedicated group of individuals who are passionate about the environment. They maintain 36 kms of trail in Burlington and they are the largest non-governmental organization preserving natural lands in Burlington. In 2018, they were able to purchase Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve, which permanently secures 1.1 km of the Bruce Trail and preserve 87 acres of significant Niagara Escarpment habitat in Burlington. Volunteers of the club are a group of dedicated individuals whose efforts are beneficial for all. The Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club maintains the trail along the Niagara Escarpment for the enjoyment of the community.

Arts Person of the Year


The Arts Person of the Year Award was donated to the City of Burlington by the Irmisch family to recognize the importance of the arts in the community and to recognize all the volunteers who work so hard to showcase the amazing talent and culture of Burlington.

The award is given to an individual who has contributed to the arts in Burlington as an artist, patron or advocate, including, but not limited to, visual arts, media arts, musical arts, performing arts and literary arts in 2018.

Winner: Hayley Verrall

Hayley is a dedicated individual whose talents in art and passion for performing have contributed to Burlington. She has been an active member of the community, using her talents to support local individuals and organizations. Hayley has performed at several nursing and long-term care homes as part of her Singing for Smiles program, aimed at bringing classic country music to individuals who are unable to travel easily. She was chosen by Ontario Country Music Associations – International to represent Burlington in Tennessee, USA. Hayley is a very community-centric artist whose talent and heart are always present.

Junior Citizen of the Year

Youthfest was founded in 2002, and avidly promotes the importance of youth in our community, develops youth responsibility and action in the community and connects youth to meaningful volunteer opportunities and available supportive service.

The Junior Citizen of the Year Award is given to a youth, 14 to 18 years of age, who has made a significant contribution to the Burlington community in 2018.

Winner: Keziah Oduro

Keziah is committed to the community, shows empathy and is confident in her abilities. She is a leader amongst her peers and is dedicated to attaining a high-level of achievement. Keziah has been the elected representative for her grade and sports liaison at Notre Dame High School. She was elected co-Prime Minister by her peers in high school. Keziah has worked collaboratively with teachers, administration, council and students to encourage school spirit and motivate change. She also volunteers at Joseph Brant Hospital and at her church. Keziah strives to see the changes she believes in and is a resilient individual who has shown perseverance in the face of adversity.

Senior Person of the Year, sponsored by the Village of Tansley Woods

The Village of Tansley Woods offers a rich selection of programs and activities year around. The Village is designed to build a community while serving residents’ personal needs and wants.

The Senior Person of the Year Award is given to a Burlington resident aged 55 years or older who has made a significant contribution to the Burlington community and/or advocated on behalf of seniors in 2018.

Winner: Trudy Csernyei

Trudy is an inspiration for our community and sees the need for bringing citizens together. She has organized a group of seniors and offers activities that allows them to use their skill sets and offers a sense of togetherness. Her group has grown to 180 seniors who gather on Monday afternoons.  Each week, Trudy and the group gather items for children in need overseas for Canadian Food for Children.  She also collects and distributes clothing for those in need. Trudy goes above and beyond to make a difference in our community and is an inspiration.

Citizen of the Year Award, sponsored by the City of Burlington

The City of Burlington is a unique city within the Greater Toronto Area that is defined by both significant urban and rural areas. The city is proud of its clean, safe, close-knit neighbourhoods, many employment opportunities and commitment to alternative ways of getting around. The City of Burlington’s vision is to be a city “that grows, moves, is healthy, green and engaging.”

The Citizen of the Year Award is given to a person whose volunteer activity has made a significant and sustained contribution to the vibrancy and wellbeing of the Burlington community in 2018.

Winner: Karen Phelps

Karen is truly inspired by helping others and encourages engagement in the community. She has contributed to Alderfest, Aldershot Community Honor Roll, Next-door Social Space and Burlington Age-Friendly Council. Karen founded the Warwick-Surrey Community Association, the Partnership West Food Bank and Partnering Aldershot. She also organized the Aldershot Garden Festival and the Melon Ball. Karen dedicates herself to any task and stays connected throughout a project to ensure success is achieved. Karen has impacted others, made a significant difference in the community and enhanced the quality of life for residents in Burlington.

About Burlington’s Best

Burlington’s Best Awards are managed by a citizens’ committee established in 1965 with the mandate of recognizing Burlington residents who bring honour to the city and make a difference in the community.

To learn more about the city’s annual recognition awards, Burlington’s Best, visit


Congratulations to all the nominees and the winners. Your work, caring and dedication are part of what makes Burlington such a great place to live and work in. The ripple effect of your actions will carry beyond the people and the communities you’ve served and benefit the city as a whole.

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